Day 21 (to Calzada de Coto): … the wayward wind …

I leave the albergue to a bit of … 

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… early morning confusion … which way is the Camino? A pilgrim on a bike joins me in sharing the confusion. Since he is faster he did a circle around the block and discovered the yellow arrows pointing to the left.
At the outskirts of the town a strange kind of court I’ve seen before … some kind of mix between a tennis and squash court.

Today the villages are bunched much closer together. By the time I warmed up I already passed two. In the second one I spot the Californian ladies taking the wrong turn so I waved them back. In the third one an open bar inspired me to take a break. According to the Camino map on the wall inside, it looks like I walked more than half way to Santiago.
Outside a table is taken by Albert from Catalonia and Han Ju from Korea. I mistook Albert for a Spaniard to which he coldly corrected me …” I’m Catalan” . For those not familiar with Spanish politics, Catalonia (whose capital is Barcelona) is increasingly pushing for independence from Spain … lot of history there.

More familiar faces drop by … its Jens and Sarah whose knee is much better. I continue on slightly after them but can’t catch up along the low hills approaching Sahagun, until reaching a picnic zone near the small church. Jens is an IT admin in Bundeswehr (German army) and Sarah works for a construction firm (sector business is booming, unlike with us). Man … if German army have such fit people in IT their combat troops must really be tough.

We reach Sahagun where we stop for a beer and I bid goodbye to Jens and Sarah. Their Camino ends here … bus to Leon and than back home. Jens cautions me that the next town has onlyy 1 albergue with 20 beds and it might be risky to expect free bed. Hey … sleeping under the stars…. if necessary I’m ready for that part of Camino experience as well.
As I leave the city I come across a monument signifying the half of Camino…according to my map its seems more of a tourist line. Californian ladies are also here … interested how the city was named. According to my guidebook … Sanctus Facundus was a Roman martyr executed here.

The Way leaves the town over an old bridge and a beautiful path between the trees … just like the one Windows XP background. Afterwards it continues straight ahead … allowing the wind to show up in full force. So much so I took my hat off in order to avoid it being blown away. As I take my regular break I realize I put on my socks wrong … and both are clearly marked L and R.

I soon come across another Camino intersection. I’m interested in the path that leads to the next town after 1km. The signposts are slightly confusing here and the Way goes alongside a highway for a while. Finally I reach Calzada de Coto around 15h.
Slightly ahead I spot Californian ladies looking for an albegue so I follow them to it.. Not a hospitalero in sight so we settle in ourselves. 20 beds and only one is taken. Its also recently renovated … most mattresses and cushions are still wrapped in plastic and yo can smell the wood coating everywhere..
So much for crowding.
On a related note … when I started I worried if the backpack will fit in that airline cage for determining overhead luggage size … (it fit comfortably), will I be able to pace myself each day … (made it so far). As far as finding a place to sleep I made a conscious decision not to worry and be open to improvisations (no problems so far). Now is it all a coincidence or a demonstration of how pointless is to worry about things in general … hmmm.

The town is naturally empty … barely a soul in sight. Looking for a bar I come across signs “bar” with arrows pointing direction … after rounding yet another corner it felt like a treasure hunt … and true nogh there is a bar in a street next to the church.

I ask the bartender when is dinner served … “at 7 pm” … OK, I’d prefer six but seven would do … “oh you want it at 6 pm, no problem”. He called the cook at once and she arrived in 15 min. He even had an albergue stamp at the bar. My hat is off to him both for the hospitality and quality of food.
Californian ladies join me for dinner, and since Sandy has medical background I ask her did she check the sleeping guy back at the albergue … he didn’t move an inch for more than hour since we arrived. She also found it strange so she checked … he is breathing regularly.

Back at the albergue .. hospitalera has finally arrived and the sleeping guy woke up … Paul from Vermont. After a short chat with him the ladies are back and everyone gets ready for bed.. Its a bit chilly tonight with 8°C outside and cold wind … but my sleeping bag is warm enough so I don’t need an extra blanket.

That was day no. 21.